The world is tired with words of the Church.
I think I may be too.
Words without actions are dead, I’m tempted to say. Cruel, possibly, too, if it comes to us arrogantly, without humility, a declaration of truth as a statement of power to which others must submit. This can be the case even when the truth being enunciated is ostensibly one of God’s grace in Christ.
But all we have are words. Is this not the case? The words of the Bible, the message of the Gospel. Is not God’s forgiveness a word.
But equally, I’m frightened of the alternative. If the communication of God’s grace in Christ is dependent on my ability to live a saint’s life, then this is all hopeless.
We can’t rightly talk about evangelism independently of the nature, character, attitude of those who witness to Christ and how this is formed by the Gospel.
Christians, and the Church, do not possess a truth that they are responsible for communicating to the world. (Yes, it can be seen that way, but it may not be helpful in this day.) Instead, we are those who have heard the Word of God and so found themselves to be guilty, proud, arrogant, possessive, fearful. In Christ we find ourselves to be both judged and acquitted at one and the next moment.
All we can do, all we should do, is live in the light of this, in humility and quietness and faithfulness. Our words as the church are empty. We have nothing to say, no position of power from which to argue and convince. On that basis we will realise our position is hopeless and we will be driven to prayer.
Does this mean we will say nothing? No, it just means that we must experience the knowledge of our state before Christ, judged and loved, before we can adequately witness to him before others.
Anything else will just be propaganda.